A google street view of an office building.

Homeless in RI: Deadline 4pm TODAY for Coalition data to go to Governor as crisis efforts continue

Photo: Office address of the RI Coalition to End Homeless

RI State House encampment

As of Friday night, no one remained in tents at the Rhode Island State House encampment. The state reports 7 individuals accepted shelter offered to them. Four people had shown up earlier at the Cranston Street Armory .On Saturday morning specialty cleaning crews from Single Source Disaster Recovery, dressed as they do when encountering situations where reported needles and drug use were involved. They removed items including tents, mattresses, clothes, bicycle tires, food items, etc. Then the plaza was power-washed. The Governor watched the beginning of the process before walking in to his office.

Governor’s Office:

From Matt Sheaff, Senior Communications staff for Governor Dan McKee : “The Dept of Housing continued to be on site at the encampment last night & transported 4 individuals to shelter. Staff had a continuous presence at the encampment from 6PM yesterday until the last tent was removed today. This allowed people to continue to pursue shelter solutions & get access to their belongings. Since the ruling yesterday, no one has been arrested and no one was in a tent this morning when the cleaning company arrived.”

The Cranston Street Armory

The Armory was put into action to be set up for its 5pm Saturday night opening. Members of the RI National Guard were seen bringing in water, hand-wash stations, cots, and helping to set up service rooms, including a medical treatment area. The facility was set up with 66 cots, a pet area, food area to serve three meals a day. 25 people were there at open time with 4 having been seen in the medical area almost immediately.

Official announcements named Amos House as having the contract to run the facility. It was also mentioned that Crossroads would be providing wrap-around services.

Media reports said 70 people were now at the Armory. The original set up was to be for 50 with fire inspection people saying “no more than 100”. As of Monday it is unclear where the balance from the 11 at the RI State House came from. Confirmation from the state has not yet come in.

Deadline TODAY to the Coalition to End Homelessness

The Governor issued specific instructions to the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness. This came after the head of the RI Department for Children and Families issued a directive to members of the homeless service community that they must report any child living outdoors or in conditions uninhabitable so the agency could get involved to offer immediate placement or services. Also, as the weather goes to below freezing consistently, the executive department of the state wants to see the information as it is known. The deadline is TODAY, Monday, December 19th at 4pm.

Required are:

  • The location of the 80 encampments as known to the Coalition on December 9th.
  • The waiting list in the CES system as it was on December 14th.

There was also instruction for engagement staff to utilize the provided software system to log in engagements with homeless individuals.

The Coalition responds

Jennifer Barrera, Chief Strategy Officer at the RI Coalition to End Homelessness, said in an interview with Uprise RI after the letter was released,

“Recently we’ve been asked to provide the location data and we told them we don’t have it. That’s the way that we protect our client’s privacy and security – particularly the folks that are unsheltered. If we have a list somewhere in our database of the location of every encampment – street address-wise – it is a risk. Our clients are at risk of physical harm; they’re at risk for their encampment to be vacated by a request that they move; they’re at risk of their encampments being destroyed, damaged, or items being stolen.

The street outreach providers maintain their own individual records, or knowledge of locations and they don’t share it with anyone because it’s just like you or I: You wouldn’t want your street address being blasted out to everyone in the State of Rhode Island if you were at risk. So we’ve told the state that we don’t have the data.”

From an NBC10 interview with Barrara:

“All of the homeless advocates who are involved in those actions also share the same thought as I: we need to focus on getting sufficient resources for shelter beds and housing online in the state of Rhode Island. That needs to be our main focus,” Barrara said… “there’s no physical list, adding outreach workers keep the information themselves. The privacy and security of people living in those encampments is paramount,” she said. “People experiencing homelessness are really vulnerable for physical violence, for some of the municipalities or other entities to come in and remove their encampment.”

To read more of our series on Homeless in RI, go to:

This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day

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  1. Kristie on December 19, 2022 at 10:02 pm

    If it’s important imperative information for the governor’s office to provide help so be it. In order to help the homeless be seen I urge the ri homeless coalition to give the information they need in order to provide the numbers they need to give access to help. It’s freezing outside and people are going to die out here. I don’t care if they know where the encampment I live in is. I am begging for help at this point

    • Nancy Thomas on December 20, 2022 at 8:47 am

      Kristie – we tried to respond to your message but the email bounced back – please try to email us again and let us see if we can help connect you with services….

  2. Ruth Breindel on December 19, 2022 at 1:26 pm

    Many people do not want to live in the “barracks” atmosphere of the Armory.
    1. Could people set up their tents for their own, private, area in the Armory?
    2. What did happen to the tents and personal effects when the state removed them?

    • Nancy Thomas on December 19, 2022 at 9:04 pm

      Our understanding is that people will move from the Armory into something more permanent as soon as possible. People leaving the state house had vacated with the items they wanted and left behind the rest. Those items were removed by a clean-up company the next morning. Approx. 12 people did go over to the Armory and the state had offered to help them move with their things – not sure who took them up on that, but some did.